Wine critics (and wine scores) play an undeniably important part in the modern wine world. Whether they write for a local newspaper, a national magazine or a specialist blog, their opinions and scores influence our wine buying decisions. They offer a valuable opinion when we're not sure which wine to choose, and at the most basic level they help many wine consumers to avoid buying the 'wrong' wine. Modern, internet-savvy consumers check wine scores before making a purchasing decision. To simplify life, we've collected together wine scores given by the world's top critics.
Use the links (left) to learn about the individual critics, and see listings of their top-rated wines.
Internationally famous wine critics such as Robert Parker (USA) and Jancis Robinson (UK) have a great deal of influence over the commercial success of wine brands, and for a long time Parker's wine scores ('Parker points') have been directly impacting sales figures of highly rated wines. Such power makes wine critics like these some of the most influential figures in the wine industry. They often figure among the upper echelons of Decanter Magazine's "Power List" alongside celebrity winemakers, wine magazine editors, and even French Presidents. But while this power is undeniable, it is now increasingly balanced out by that of lesser-known wine writers and bloggers. And now that the world wine community has solidly embraced the internet, a certain momentum has been gained by the opinions of the masses - notably the many thousands who contribute their tasting notes and scores to the CellarTracker website.
Scoring wines by number is increasingly popular and undeniably powerful, but it has always been controversial. Even the critics themselves generally give caveats about the value of wine scoring. Jancis Robinson notes that “Once numbers are involved, it is all too easy to reduce wine to a financial commodity rather than… a source of sensual pleasure and conviviality”. This echoes Robert Parker’s warning that “…scores do not reveal the important facts about a wine. The written commentary that accompanies the ratings is a better source of information”.
In addition to wine critics, wine awards and competitions also judge and evaluate the world's wines. For specific information about these, and for wine competition results, see Wine Awards.